Homemade leg press


New Member
So all this hoopla about homemade contraptions has me a little more excited than usual.

Anyone think about a homemade leg press machine or maybe see one online or something?  Im searching, havent found much yet.

Im done with squats and deadlifts, Ive given it my best and my lower back will not allow it, period.  Not a damn thing to do with form, I know, I should see a DR. but until then, I wanna do some type of leg exercise.  Im doing weighted step ups and even the dreaded leg extensions.  
 I took a look at the "squat bar" and the ability to hold onto the rack or something fixed to keep a more upright position, I think would help but its not cheap.  I even considered something like the "frank zane leg blaster"  again, kinda pricey.

What made me think about the leg press is I have seen mention were a few top bodybuilders have used leg presses primarily and have developed nice upper legs.  I wouldnt be mr. o if I had the best drugs available....so surely I could develop decent muscle from this movement.

Ive seen the vertical leg press machines everywhere, the old school ones, lay on your back, ah, not for me.
 The price is right, and tempting but no, not for me.

So now Im thinking, what would be a good way to rig up a death trap for leg presses.  I first thought I would need some type of roller device but Id imagine well sanded boards, maybe greased? would do just fine, especially at a 30 or 45 degree angle, anyone know the exact angle the commercial leg press machines are set at?  Could even use an old bed rame, one afixed to the bottom, another to the upper sled part that holds the weight, grease the hell out of it, it would work fine.

Just tossing around ideas, lemme know what you think.

If I go this route, given my obsession with dumbells, I doubt I'll build a Quadrack, the design really appeals to me, simple and effective, however quadancer, if you help out on the concept of this, I'll name this one the "Quad press"  
 unless someone offers a better name....maybe "Death trap"  

I thought about a leverage type contraption, as pictured. The top is basically two 2X10's and a post, either use a chain to hold the weight or build a box on top and fill it with whatever.
The lower picture is basically post with a v or notch and a 2X10 or long post for that matter, in the notch, then attach weight with a chain, could alternate shoulders, however, not sure either would do much to ease my lower back, then again, maybe it would, as it would offer more stability and the ability to remian upright....definitely be the easiest.

Hmmm, you've just redesigned the lever squat. My lever machine is good on the back because you're leaning back a bit, keeping the abs tight.

Got a belt?
Wrap it around an immobile object, slap a weight on your chest and do sissy squats. They're definitely not for sissies, and easy on the back. What about sumo deads? They're easier on the back than squats, and you can do them right NOW. Not to mention that they hit the hams like crazy too.
I couldn't find a utube vid for sissy squats; they just had this Vince Goronda thing that would be impossible for most guys. PM me for details if you wish.
I tried hack squats last night with a bar, seemed to be a little better, and that was with my lower back in some pain.

Another thought, I was thinking of finding one of those machines chuck norris uses, except hopefully cheap, set it vertical, space it from the wall enough to allow for a bar/plates, then use it as a hack squat back support, simple?

Ive done sissy squats in the past, seems they really put strain on my boney ass knees, I might have to do them again though.

Any opinions on which might be better, a hack squat with the back supported or a leverage squat?

Whats the usual length of the upper supports on the leverage type contraptions?

dark master

Seems easy enough to make, but I think I will stick to stiff leg deads for the lower back, thanks.
<div></div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">Any opinions on which might be better, a hack squat with the back supported or a leverage squat?</div>
If you want strong quads, hack squat.
If you want a strong back, lever squats.

<div></div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">Whats the usual length of the upper supports on the leverage type contraptions?</div>
It's not relevant. They could be a mile long or 3 feet long, as long as the weights are even with your spine, as in a squat. That way, if you load 400 lbs., you are lifting 400 lbs. But you can't go around saying that you squat 400 lbs. because there is about a 30% advantage when you don't have to balance the weight and can simply push against the machine. I was doing 540+ in mine. No way can I squat that.
Thanks totentanz, I PM'd dan moore, think Id like to try another design, Im sure his was effective, just not what Im looking for.


I was mainly looking for the measurement, pivot point to the ground, not sure why I wrote just that one question.  I decided to make it custom to my height and range, just cant make up my mind.  

Gotta love leverage machines, nothing like a leverage chest press machine to make you feel better about your bench...haha

So Im guessing the leverage machine or equivalent, isnt the best option when trying to avoid lower back stress?
All I can say is that the bodysolid unit of mine has you leaning back about 5 degrees or so, and that keeps your abs tight naturally. It's done good for my back, and regular squats did damage, at about 430 lbs. (felt a disc 'squish')
Now that I'm doing deads, the back is even better, and time will tell what squats will do when I get the weights up eventually. Oh, and I added abs in. They speak true when they say the abs support the back, so I guess what I'm saying is that the very things that seem to hurt you may be the things that will cure you. MUSCLE supports the SPINE. And I've found that that 'ol snake is a lot tougher than we realize it to be.
I would redesign Dan's unit a little myself, but keep the same principle, only make it a bit more user-friendly. I just don't care at this time for machines: I'll sell you my bodysolid. I'm going all PL stuff now. I think it's all I need, really.
I think I figured out a way to keep things somewhat traditional and offer an edge, and its so simple its pathetic...haha

Sat a barbell in front of the bench, connected a sturdy piece of 4' material to the bar, then to the flange that used to hold the leg extension.  Instant leverage machine.  Just about any piece of material could be used, as there is no real load on it.  It just keeps the bar from moving backwards or forwards.  I left plenty of &quot;slop&quot; at the bar connection and at the bench connection, it feels like a traditional lift, just with fixed travel...yeah...like a leverage machine...haha

I tried bar hack squats, turned around did deadlifts, then tried out some rows, all light but seems to work.  What caught my attention right off the bat, usually with bar deadlifts, I cant seem to avoid hitting the bar against my boney ass knees, one the way up or down, with that simple addition, it went like butter.  The rows were nice too.  I think curls would be doable.  Might need to toy around with different heights to get the travel of the bar to conform to my natural movement but its pretty close now.

I dunno, I think my contraption might be a better idea than a leverage machine, besides, you'd probably regret selling it one day, seems I talk myself into doing something, then end up doing what I was, and it usually makes sense both times....odd.

Whats PL?
I was thinking it could be power lifting or powertech leverage.  

Just so noone gets the idea Im talking about something simillar to the shrug/deadlift machine as seen in some gyms, I did a quick paint drawing.  I should also mention, the connector is fixed to the center of the bar, but its not fixed to the bar, as in, the bar spins freely inside it.   The arrows indicate potential bar movement, showing similarities to a free weight.